Yushan (玉山) has made it to the next level in a competition for the seven new natural wonders of the world, becoming one of 28 finalists.
The competition is organized by the Swiss-based New 7 Wonders Foundation and will continue until 2011.
The 28 finalists were chosen by a panel of experts from among 77 nominees selected through online voting.
Also among the finalists are the Grand Canyon, the Matterhorn, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon rainforest, the Dead Sea and the Galapagos islands.
New 7 Wonders founder Bernard Weber told the Central News Agency that Yushan’s inclusion as a finalist would promote Taiwan’s biodiversity, because most people outside Taiwan do not know that Yushan’s altitude is comparable to Europe’s Alps.
The 3,952m peak is the highest in East Asia. It is located on the boundaries of Chiayi, Nantou and Kaohsiung counties and is home to diverse wildlife and ecology.
Jean-Paul de la Fuente, director of the foundation, said that when most people think of Taiwan, they think of its vibrant economy and politics, but Yushan’s inclusion in the finals would promote Taiwan’s diverse natural environment.
Taipei has said it will apply to host the 2011 winner ceremony, de la Fuente said, and if it is chosen, it will put Taiwan in the spotlight.
Over the next two years, officials from the foundation are expected to visit each of the countries where the 28 landmarks are located to promote the contest.